John Darwin’s *Unfinished Empire*

by on February 15, 2013 at 11:17 am in Books, History | Permalink

The subtitle is The Global Expansion of Britain.  The book received strong reviews in the UK and these are justified.  Here is the bottom line: I started it Wednesday, have read parts of it every day, and I am still reading it.  There is interesting and fresh material on almost every page.  Think of it as a selective history of the building of the British empire.

So far it is my favorite non-fiction book of 2013.  Here is one good WSJ review.

Norman Pfyster February 15, 2013 at 11:36 am

Dude, you are *still* reading it? Are you under the weather?

JCE February 15, 2013 at 2:02 pm

I don`t understand the ‘I’m still reading it’ part. Do you normally abandon a book before the third day?

Steve Sailer February 15, 2013 at 6:18 pm

Is John Darwin related to Charles Darwin?

Steve Sailer February 15, 2013 at 6:23 pm

That the English (and their descendants in America, Canada, Australia, etc.) are the biggest winners in history is one of those facts that’s so obvious that it’s hard to notice.

Dismalist February 15, 2013 at 6:43 pm

Yes, Steve! And the Germans, the Italians, the Irish, the Mexicans, the Jews, the Chinese, the Japanese, the Indians from the sub-continent, and even the Blacks. Just not as nation-states. Tells us something about the nation state.

Peter the Shark February 18, 2013 at 4:49 am

It tells you who is better at building and running nation states, yes.

Mark February 15, 2013 at 7:09 pm

Concur with Dismalist. Also, there are always those who think the ascendency of the moment has something to do with permanence.

shrikanthk February 16, 2013 at 12:07 pm

Hit the nail on the head.
And it’s something that ought to be noticed and discussed more often.
Because the rise of Britain was also inextricably linked to the birth of the modern world. The Modern world of industrial capitalism, free press, religious liberty, representative government that we all take for granted. The more we ignore the history of the fortuitous rise of Britain, the more likely we are to take modernity for granted and as a result fail to realize how fragile this modernity can be.

Peter the Shark February 18, 2013 at 4:46 am

Not the English – the British. The Scottish and Welsh contribution to all these states has been just as significant at the elite level.

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